11 Benefits of Raising Chickens You Didn’t Know
You know chickens give you eggs, but you might not know all the wonderful benefits of raising chickens.
We became backyard chicken keepers because I found myself concerned with the quality of the food I fed my family. I knew egg production was one of the biggest benefits of raising chickens, but I honestly had no idea just how amazing these little animals truly are.
In recent years, more people than ever are raising backyard chickens. As more city ordinances are changing to backyard hens, the more people realize the health benefits.
We know that home-raised fresh eggs often have higher omega-3 fatty acid levels and other essential vitamins. Eating these eggs help to lower your cholesterol levels.
Listen, I may sound like one of those annoying infomercials you watch in the middle of the night, but it’s true.
Raising chickens come with a lot of benefits.
If you’re considering raising some different breeds of chickens, here is what you have to look forward to!
Related: How Much Space Do Chickens Need? What You Must Know
11 Benefits of Raising Chickens in Your Backyard
1. A Source of Organic Eggs
Organic, fresh eggs from your own chickens are a hot commodity now-a-days. If you head to the grocery store, a dozen of truly organic eggs can cost anywhere from $4-6 a dozen!
When you’re raising backyard chickens, you know what you feed your flock, and it’s a good way to avoid chemicals from hormones, chemicals and pesticides in commercial chicken feed.
Let’s not forget you cannot get a fresher egg than one that was laid that day in your backyard. When you eat an egg from a backyard chicken, it has probably been laid within hours after being gathered, which means it’s fresher than store bought eggs.
Home-raised eggs contain no harmful growth hormones or steroids that some commercial chicken farmers give their flock. If you find yourself concerned about what you’re feeding your family, getting a flock of chickens is often the first step.
A small flock of chickens is all your family needs for a source of fresh eggs. You don’t need a ton of chickens to reap these benefit!
2. A Natural, Organic Source of Meat
Another benefit of a backyard chicken flock is that you have a natural source of meat in your own backyard.
I understand not everyone wants to raise meat chickens, but if you’re concerned about the hormones that are used in factory farms, then you should give it a thought. When you raise poultry for meat in your backyard, you know exactly where they came from and what they eat.
Our meat birds live a great life. They get to free range and eat all the berries and bugs they want. Despite what some things, they forage well. Their diet is fantastic, and that reflects in the meat quality. When it comes time for them to be butchered, they are humanely culled by my husband, and our family processes the meat.
You can’t get more natural than that!
Related: Raising Cornish Cross Chickens: 8 Things You Need to Know
3. You Can Earn Some Extra Cash
Raising backyard chickens is a great way to earn some extra cash as well. You can sell chicken eggs in your local community at farmers markets, farm stands or even to local restaurants. I’m always able to off load any extra eggs we have on hand; someone will buy them!
That’s not the only way to make extra cash with chickens.
If you get your chicken coop checked and inspected, it’s possible for you to sell humanely raised and butchered chickens to your local community.
Another idea is to sell hatching eggs or chicks in the spring and summer. Depending on the breeds you have and egg colors, some hatching eggs go for over $20 a dozen!
Related: 35 Ways to Make Money on a Homestead
4. Get Free Fertilizer for Your Garden
Another one of the benefits of keeping chickens is that it’s an easy way to get free fertilizer for your vegetable garden.
Chicken manure is an excellent source of nitrogen and other nutrients for your garden, and if you feed your flock a natural diet, you don’t have to worry about any chemicals going into your garden. Chicken droppings keep your soil healthy, free of any harmful bacteria and pathogens.
Here’s one thing to note.
You have to compost chicken poop before applying it to your vegetable garden. Chicken droppings are high in nitrogen, and if you apply it fresh to your garden, you’ll burn your plants, but this is easy to fix.
Simply put the chicken droppings into your compost pile and let it set for six to eight months while it composts and ages. After composting, it’s safe to spread chicken manure on your garden.
5. Free Weed Control
Another benefit of raising chickens is that they will help you keep weeds in your garden under control. However, if you want to reap this benefit, you have to keep an eye on them or make a chicken tunnel.
Yes, a chicken tunnel.
This is on my plans for the next year, but you can make tunnels out of PVC and wire mesh for the chickens to walk in and eat the weeds that you want them to eat while keeping your plants safe from harm.
Trust me, chickens will eat your plants, even if you don’t want them to do so. That’s why I always try to keep my flock out of my garden otherwise.
6. Natural Pest Control
Chickens love to eat bugs, so if you’re struggling with pest problems in your garden, sending your flock in is a great idea.
They’ll pick off all sorts of bugs from your crops; they even dig into the dirt to find more bugs. These little omnivores devour insects, and that leads to even healthier eggs for you to eat.
You get rid of pests in your garden AND have healthier chickens with better quality eggs? Heck yes!
7. Family Pets for Young Children
Our kids love our chickens; they make great pets. While we raise our chickens for their eggs and meat, our kids all have their favorite ones and love to spend time with them.
Raising backyard chickens not only educates kids, but it also gets them outside often. It’s a great way to have fun with family and enjoy some good clean fresh air outside together while teaching children how things work in life.
Kids today are spending more time inside and less time learning about the world around them and what better way to educate children about nature, chickens, and their behavior than allowing them experience it firsthand.
8. Chickens are Entertaining and Educational!
Raising backyard chickens is a great way to have a source of entertainment for your whole family.
Our family loves watching them play and run around in their chicken coop or flying around our yard while they free range. They’re quite comical, especially when they follow behind the kids if they have treats.
When we have broody hens, our kids love watching the hens work to raise their chicks. The way mama hens cluck at their baby chicks is utterly adorable. Watching them grow from small little yellow fluff balls into fully grown chickens ready to lay eggs or provide meat on the dinner table for your family is fascinating and educational at the same time!
9. Everyone Gets Outside
In our house, everyone takes care of the chickens, so it gets our entire family outside more often. That means our kids get to spend more time in nature, and I spend more time off social media. The kids have chores with the chickens and have to put the video game down to do them.
That’s good for them!
Daily chores include things like collecting the eggs from the hen house, refilling waterers, and feeding them. A little bit of hard work is good the everyone in the family.
10. They Eat All Your Kitchen Scraps
One of the best benefits to raising organic chickens is that they eat all your kitchen scraps. You can reduce your trash output and put all the scraps to good use feeding your flock.
Believe it or not, chickens eat meat too. Most assume that chickens only want veggie scraps, and while they love that, they’ll eat meat scraps – yes, even chicken.
One time, my husband gave them a deer carcass after hunting, and they picked the bones clean. Absolutely nothing went to waste, and we love that.
Keep a bowl on your countertop and collect the scraps throughout the day. Toss in the tops of the strawberries your kids don’t want to eat, the leftover veggies from dinner, any extra taco meat, beans, or whatever else you have that day. Then, head to the chicken coop and leave it in a food dish fro them. They’ll love it!
Related: 19+ Safe Things You Can Feed Your Chickens
11. Helps You Enter the Sustainable Living World
Finally, another great benefit to raising chickens is that it helps you enter the sustainable living world. You can learn more about sustainable living practices and how important life is by allowing your children experience the joys of watching chickens roam around freely without cages or fences surrounding them.
Many people find that raising chickens is the gateway to homesteading and trying other sustainable practices in their day-to-day life. Don’t be surprised if that happens to you!
Raising chickens comes with more benefits than you might expect. From fresh eggs to lively entertainment, adding a few chickens to your family is a worthwhile investment. They’ll contribute more to your family than you might imagine!